All fair activities will reopen if specific COVID-19 health orders are met, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a press release late Thursday.
According to Stephanie McCloud, director of Ohio Department of Health, the orders will continue to be lifted if the situation improves, and if it worsens, more restrictions will be put in place.
The order include fair-goers maintaining a 6-foot social distance from others, washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and as often as possible, or using hand sanitizer. They must also cover their coughs and sneezes into sleeves or elbows (not hands) and not shake hands, and fair personnel must consistently clean high-touch surfaces.
People must also perform a daily health assessment and stay home if they have a fever, cough or other symptoms showing they might have the virus.
The order says that where possible, it must be shown with signs, tape or other ways the 6-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain the distance. There must be signs “maintained at all entrances to the fair, at grandstands, in restrooms, barns, near sanitizing stations, and other areas with high visibility or likelihood for congregation.”
There must also be hand sanitizer and sanitizing products “readily available” for both employees and customers.
Masks are required by everyone on the fairgrounds unless they are actively eating or drinking.
“While government can set the baseline, it should always be understood that these orders set forth the minimum acts that must be taken and if people do more than the minimum to act safely, it will benefit everyone,” McCloud said.
The order also says each fair and animal exhibition must have an on-site compliance officer for all hours of operation that is responsible for making sure those in attendance comply with the order.
There are also specific procedures for different situations at fairs and animal exhibitions.
For large gatherings, organizers and managers should try to manage the event so large gatherings of people in the midway, in buildings or on other parts of the grounds are discouraged. There should also be one-way traffic in buildings and other areas so people can maintain proper social distancing.
For exhibitions, competitions and auctions, participants, spectators and judges should keep a 6-foot distance from each other. Family members of those participating in an event will have viewing area priority and each family should gather together and 6 feet away from other families. Microphones should also be sanitized after each change in speaker.
There is a 25-percent maximum capacity for indoor grandstands and a 30-percent maximum capacity for outdoor grandstands.Social distancing is also encouraged in the grandstands, other than family members that should be seated together.
Public buildings must be open as much as possible to facilitate good ventilation, such as open doors and windows.
Food areas should be specifically designated with tables and seating for food and drink consumption. The tables should be 6 feet apart and no more than 10 people should be able to sit at one table. Food and drink should be consumed while seated, if possible.
Sanitation areas should be provided at convenient places around the facilities and grounds, which are in addition to regular restrooms. The stations should have sanitizers and be placed near food concessions and in barns. The stations need to be maintained so hand sanitizer is always available for people to use.
For amusement rides, there must be social distancing signs or markings. When there is a box office/will call, if there isn’t already a glass partition between patrons and ticket employees, a physical barrier must be installed. However, contact-free ticketing is recommended.
Updated orders and procedures concerning festivals, parades, proms and spring sports are “forthcoming” from the ODH, the news release said.
For spring sports, students will not be required to quarantine due to incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom unless they start showing symptoms.
DeWine said in the update that Ohio is currently at 155 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over the last two weeks, an improvement from the 180 cases of last week.
“In Ohio, we are still at a very elevated level of cases, but today’s health data is certainly trending in the right direction,” DeWine said.
According to the ODH on Friday, Highland County has had 3,316 total cases of COVID-19, 176 hospitalizations, 51 deaths and 3,146 presumed recovered from the virus.
The ODH released the following numbers Friday for Highland County schools:
* Bright Local has had no new student or staff cases.
* Fairfield has had one new student case, but no staff cases.
* Greenfield has had two new student cases, but no new staff cases.
* Highland County Board of DD has had no new student or staff cases.
* Neither the Hillsboro Christian Academy Preschool or Private School have had student or staff cases.
* Hillsboro has had three new student cases and one new staff case.
* Lynchburg-Clay has had no new student or staff cases.
* Neither St. Mary Catholic Preschool or Private School have had new student or staff cases.
* Stonewall Academy has not had any new student or staff cases.
Most local school districts in Highland County also have own online resources which also update COVID-19 information:
According to ODH COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard on Friday, 7.37 percent of the population in Highland County has completed its vaccinations, equaling 3,182 residents. The ODH considers a resident completed with vaccines when “an individual has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and is considered fully immunized.”
According to the dashboard in Highland County:
* 0-19 years — Eight people, or 0.07 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 20-29 years — 11 people, or 2.25 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 30-39 years — 188 people, or 3.90 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 40-49 years — 58 people, or 4.90 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 50-59 years — 363 people, or 6.27 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 60-64 years — 253 people, or 8.30 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 65-69 years — 225 people, or 8.69 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 70-74 years — 451 people, or 21.13 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 75-79 years — 472 people, or 31.42 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 80 and over years — 853 people, or 43.90 percent, have completed their vaccines.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.